Summer is not only a great time for cycling, it's also the time of year when pheromones waft like barbecue smoke. Combine the two in Portland and you have a virtually limitless array of bikey love connections.
TWO-WHEELED DATE BASICS:
• Water bottle or wine skein? You're an adult, right? So take responsibility for your own unquestionably illegal activities. All we're saying is we doubt anyone would suspect that the sporty water bottle connected to your frame contains anything other than water. (Headed to Council Crest or the peak of Mt. Tabor? Might want to have some actual water on hand, too, if you plan to break a sweat.) Not a wine drinker? Heidi Liedeker, avid cyclist and owner of Meat for Cats and Dogs has another idea: "Buy a half rack of beer and a bag of ice. You open the box of beer and dump in the ice. It's perfect for an afternoon at Kelley Point Park."
• Invest in a tool kit (and learn how to use it). Flat tire + date catastrophe averted.
• Practical footwear! We know you want to appear casually cool and nonchalant, but don't bike in flip-flops. They have a tendency to fall off your feet in the middle of intersections.
TWO-WHEELED DATE DESTINATIONS:
• The Bluffs. This is a quintessential bike date destination and an excellent place for neckin'. Just head west on Skidmore until the street dead ends into a small park overlooking the train tracks. A little bit gritty, a whole lot of pretty.
• Make history with personal history. "I once took my boyfriend on a Tour de Heidi," shares Liedeker. "We went to the house I grew up in, my grade school, middle, and high school. I ended up with two flats that day, which he fixed for me [SEE??]. To thank him for his patience with my bad bike juju I treated us to some cocktails in a romantic atmosphere at the Pink Feather on SE 141st and Division."
• The mid-point picnic. Adriel Weiner of Pedal Bike Tours admits this one isn't original, "but if it ain't broke, don't fix it." His favorite bike date is a ride from Mt. Tabor to the Waterfront with a little mid-trip respite. Before the date, "Go to your favorite delicatessen and grab a small roll of crackers, two small wedges of cheese, and a small bit of cured meats, topped off with a bottle of wine or a few 22s of beer. Only enough to fit in a small knapsack—it's a picnic, not a feast. At about the halfway point, roll out a little cloth, set everything out, and enjoy. Extra points if you can pull it off without the other person asking, 'What's in the bag?'"
• A Blazers game. Liedeker recommends avoiding the muss and fuss of the dual clusterfuck of traffic and parking at a Blazers game: "Being on bike is way easier than sitting in traffic or smashing into a crowded MAX car."
• Where you feel welcome. Portland is teeming with good bars, so why not narrow your options to places that cater to cyclists' safety with ample bike parking right off good routes? Christopher DeHerrera, who bike commutes daily from Montavilla to his job serving at Beaker and Flask, recommends a few off the top of his head: "Laurelhurst Market, Clyde Common, Bunk Bar, the Los Gorditos truck, Rontoms, Produce Row, Night Light..."